Monday, December 05, 2011

Once you go Mac, you never go back

Of course I'm far from the first person to say that. As I've just learned by exercising my human right to google, there's a facebook page, there's multiple t-shirts. So let me just echo. My first personal computer was the first mass-produced Apple Macintosh. My father bought it for me in 1982 through a program at Reed College. At the time he purchased it, my father (a literature professor and radical left activist) was composing all his copious writings (plays, books, stories, letters) on a manual typewriter he had been carrying around with him for 30 years. He hated the electrics and wouldn't have anything to do with them. I can well remember falling asleep to the sounds of Judy Collins' "no more genocide in my name" layered over the clang of the return arm on the typewriter in my father's office located directly below my bedroom.

But I father fell in love with my first Mac and stole it from me.  Just like that.  He bought it.  He tried it and then he couldn't, wouldn't go back to the clackety clack.  Course, my father was an honorable man and so he immediately bought me another one.   I loved it.  It was so convenient.  You could even store up to 365k of memory on one of those little disks and you could spend hours swapping disks back and forth in order to have them hold your entire 20 page paper.

Then I got a job working as a secretary on a Wang wordprocessor.  Don't get me started on Yang.  I was the freakin' queen of Wang.  Sometime let me tell you the story about how I inadvertently lost 3 people their jobs by being a temp that was too good at Wang.   After that I worked only for places with IBM machines.  Not because I liked them, but because that's what my employers had.  I wanted desperately to work on an Apple computer.  My brothers never ever left the Apple family.  I dreamed of it.  I yearned for it.  I got very good at PCs (but at night I would dream of the Mac...).

It never seemed to me to make sense to invest in an Apple product because they were so expensive and they did not  interface well with PCs.  For the past several years, people whispered to me, there's Mac Word--you can open microsoft products.  All those glitches are gone.  Still, I would go into the Mac store and I would look at the prices on those laptops and I would think, no can do.  I bought a little netbook PC thing hoping it would slake my thirst.  So affordable.  So tiny.  A soon-to-be anachronism replaced by the tablets.  It has been horrible.  It is impossible to type on.  It takes years to boot up.  It crashes frequently.

Finally, last year, the main desk top at home acted up once too often.  I convinced myself it was on its last legs and I went to the Apple store and bought an iMac desktop.  Man oh man.  I love(d) everything about it.  About a week after I bought it, I got a challenging day job.  That job has me on a PC.  I'm on that PC all day long.  It crashes.  It takes forever to boot up.  It's not beautiful and it's hard to get around.

Week before last one of my brothers let me use his Mac Airbook for a second.  OMG.  I could hardly stand how beautiful that thing is.  I kid you not I seriously considered stealing it from him and telling him there was a break-in.

I cannot and will not live without that device.  I will have one.

Yet, it occurs to me that the title of my post is a lie.  I went Mac and then for decades (literally, almost 3) I did not go back.  Maybe what I should say is, "once you leave Mac, it's a long road back..."


John Blue said...

Great story!I've been eying those Mac things lately, myself.

Anonymous said...

I've just read the first few lines and noticed your article says you got a Mac in 1982. They weren't even introduced until the 1984 Super Bowl. Let me keep reading to see if that's explained. If not, maybe you could redact and correct?